Just another Muslim couple

Walking down the street, you watch the stereotypical Muslim Arab couple as they pass by you.

The husband, in the crisp white dishdasha that marks him as a traditional Arab male, coupled with the starched patterned white shemagh that is crowned by a stiff black egal.

The wife, covered in black from head to toe, ebony chiffon swirling around her as her feet move, invisible.

His skin is the dusky brown of a Khaleeji Arab; his beard dark, wiry, and clearly trying to grow longer. The hem of his dishdasha rises above his ankles, signifying that he is of those troublesome religious types. What are they called? Oh yes, Salafis.

Who knows what color the wife’s skin is? Poor woman, she probably can’t breathe behind that layered veil.

His eyes do not smile, his lips are pursed. Horrible man, he must be angry at his wife for how the sleeve of her cloak pulled below her wrists! Poor woman is probably going to get beaten tonight. If only you could save her, liberate her from this oppressive society.

These poor, pathetic, backward Arab savages!

Except, they’re not.

Oh, he is Arab, but she loves to describe herself as a Canadian of washed-out desi descent, except she’s not really desi because her parents and grandparents were born and raised in South Africa. She was raised in Canada her whole life and refuses to be anything but Canadian.

He is awkward about his Arab heritage, half-Egyptian and half-Kuwaiti, raised partly in Canada but never feeling at home there or anywhere else. She rolls her eyes and tells him that he is exotic, fawns over his copper skin and high cheekbones, saying that he is her Orientalist fantasy sheik. And at least the Egyptian genes ensure that their daughter will be a great dancer, since she can’t dance to save her life.

He thinks that his beard is too long already, that it must be scary to others.  She forbids him to cut it, or even trim it, because she loves threading her fingers through his beard and tugging on the wiry curls.

His lips are pursed because she has just made a snarky, suggestive comment, giggling behind her niqab, while he tries to stop himself from laughing out loud and attracting attention.

Never able to resist the temptation to unnerve him, she breathily whispers something that makes him blush furiously and duck his head in embarrassment.

The only one to get hit when they get home is him, when she punches him in the arm teasingly and cracks a joke about her wearing the pants in the house.

His dark, serious eyes sparkle when he sees her, even if he’s not too impressed with the shock of blue streaks in her hair.

When she fidgets in front of the mirror, comparing herself to the voluptuous Arab women of his family, he tells her to stop being silly and that he thinks she is the sexiest woman in the world. He waggles his eyebrows at her, ridiculously although he’s actually aiming for suggestive, until she starts laughing and kisses him to make him stop.

Of course, you can’t see all that.

They are just another Muslim couple, walking down the street.

It is only after they walk by you that you see their hands join together, fingers entwined.

AnonyMouse blogs erratically at Musings of a Muslim Mouse , and is always grateful to Allah for her maddening, adorable, amusing, and irritating true love of a husband.

23 Comments on “Just another Muslim couple”

  1. Safiyyah says:


    Lol. I was almost ready to feel angry until I read on to the end. Lovely piece!!!

  2. So, the only way we can identify her is through him? If we know him, we will most likely know it is his wife he is walking with. But, if she is alone – she is unidentifiable.

    Once, when I was walking with my family at JFK, a woman wearing and niqab and walking with her husband and young child came up to me – “Salam alaikum Cheri!” Hmmm, she recognized me – I did not recognize her until she told me that she was Joy, the daughter of an American minister who I had met and spent time with at her home in Chappaqua, NY, a few years prior.

    Of course, the sisters can do as they wish, I will not argue with them (maybe disagree a little). We will all be judged, ultimately, by what is in our hearts, not by what is covering our face.

    God-willing, we will all reach Jannah.

    • “We will all reach”;Then why so critical? Is it because you believe, rightly or wrongly that other muslimahs are always judging you. That’s a very narrow view of the other sisters, and it’s not fair at all. I completely cover, and it doesn’t bother me (anymore) that other women don’t. Definitely, we will all be judged, including for how we dress, and for everything else. But let Allah do the judging. We can advise, that’s all. Just because you don’t recongnize someone in the street doesn’t make her invisible, or less than a human being.

      • Cheri says:

        No, I don’t worry about how they judge me. My point was that “she” recognized me because I was not covering my face. And, because she recognized me, she approached me. How would she know me if my face was covered?

    • Aurooba Ahmed says:

      In a sea of black burqas/niqabis in Makkah, Madinah, or in my own city when I lived in Saudi Arabia, I could pick out my mom, my aunt, and other women I knew from far away.

      This is how I see it: when something is new to you, it all looks the same, it’s only when you are more familiar and more exposed to it that you notice the nuances. Just like with food, cards, design, etc.

      I don’t need a man walking beside a niqabi to recognize who the niqab-wearing woman is, but that’s because as a child I grew up in a community where almost every woman wore the niqab, and that way of seeing stayed with me.


  3. Asiila I. says:


    I used to think niqab was ridiculous from back when i was new and too cute to wear the khimar, until years later after i chose to adopt a semblance of hijab. i don’t feel that way anymore. i’ve come to understand that these sisters are expressing themselves in a style of modesty that appeals to them. i have to give them their props.

    I am also pretty adept at recognizing niqabi sisters, by themselves.

    They all walk differently and have their own style. And if the eyes are uncovered, it’s easy. Muslims and non who don’t know a niqabi personally won’t recognize her, but that’s really not her concern. She seeks the anonymity and quietness.

    Niqabis know the deal; if they wish to speak, they will do the approaching. They know the deal.

    One of the most dynamic sisters in our community has worn the niqab for decades, going ahead after her husband tried to convince her not to. He’s now used to it, as are her neighbors, and all the businesses she deals with, by herself. She is an articulate and dynamic daiee who is sought after to give speeches on campus and at other interfaith non-muslim events. Knowing the reaction most people have to her dress, she begins with encouraging the audience to ask questions about her niqab…and they do. And about after 10 minutes, the tension dispels, the audience exhales and views her as an intelligent, female, american convert who can express herself and explain Islam with humor and charm. In a phrase, they no longer view the niqab as an obstacle.

    You would think after, at least, 11 years of being under a worldwide microscope, the niqab and burqah would have lost some of its shock value. Maybe one day….

    If it’s all about wearing what you feel most comfortable in. It’s hard to believe in this day and age that there are some sisters who are that modest, but there are. It’s not a bad thing. We have to allow them the same acceptance (and right) to cover their faces as we do sisters who don’t cover neither their face nor hair.


    • I just bought a new niqaab last week, at first I thought I wouldn’t like it as well as my older one, because the new one has a very stiff band on top, but actually it helps hold the niqaab in place better, and I see better,too. So I think, don’t judge the niqaab or the wearer. There are lots of styles of Islamic clothing that are very comfortable, and beautiful,too. I love my black Japanese silk abaya, and wouldn’t wear anything else, it’s ‘farasha’ style; which is now an older style, but good for medium sized women like me, who want to be more covered; it’s not tight like some jilbabs and other abayas are designed. Islam first, I say.

      My husband, as a kid, he tells me, used to be able to tell his mother from a crowd of other women, by the way she walked. Maybe he was just very perseptive, or attached to her, or she had a special walk? That’s the point I guess, everyone is special, certainly our family will recognize us in a crowd. My husband has never had problems recognizing me, outside the mall, or in a shop.

  4. AnonyMouse says:

    As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh,

    I find it rather ironic (and slightly amusing) that a love story was hijacked by the detail that the female protagonist (me) wears niqab!

    Cheryl. as the “wife” in the story (although I’m usually described more along the lines of, “the crazy punk-wannabe Muslim chick”), my identity is neither tied nor dependent upon my husband or my niqab; neither my facial features (or hiding them) nor the man I’m married to define WHO I am. They are simply two factors of my identity as a whole.

    In any case, this IS a love story… not meant to open up the entire debate about niqab 🙂

  5. […] A muslim couple on the sidewalk, a sweet story from Love InshAllah, by Zainab of Ottawa. […]

  6. what an amazing article to describe the hidden love of muslims ……just between a man and his wife 🙂

  7. Khaled says:

    Beautiful article. Thank you for sharing.

  8. Sarah F. says:

    This was delightful! NOW we’re talking about real romance 😀

  9. Wahida says:


    My question to the writer is what is the point of this article? Why was an hour or so wasted writing this piece? Is it to prove to non-muslims that we are capable of romance? Is that really necessary? Aren’t the ‘details’ in this story to be kept private between the man and his wife, islamically speaking? It is touching on details on intimacy, is it not? I understand the urge to have islamic romance stories but why should we copy the kufaar? If anyone wants to know about whether or not we are ‘savages’ they can easily look at the many ahadeeth that show how the Prophet (SAWS) was romantic with his wives.

    I mean no offence, just slightly confused as to why muslims have resorted to this?

    Thank you,


    • Nur-ul-Ain says:

      Awww this so beautiful and sweet I’m In love with the story I’m sharing it with all Muslim sisters. Thanks for this

  10. Irfaan says:

    Who ever wrote this, is very creative 🙂
    It’s so true, to judge someone is very easy. But things aren’t always as you think they are. And in this case, everything is just…beautiful even if you misconceived them as being oppressed.

    Keep it up to the writer!!

  11. THOBI says:

    Can I ask thou? is it allowed for a muslim to marry out of his race and religion? Because Im 18 and a guy I have known for a long time ussually teasingly said how Ill be his wife wen i was old enough,he is just as young thou…19 of age.we never dated or anything,we were just friends and now he has asked if he can have my hand in marriage because his words :”Muslims dont date they marry” and im not sure thou im very fond of him yes but im Black and im christian…what do i do???? please advice me and dont judge

    • SearchingforLove says:

      yea its allowed, but only to a christian or a jew…and as i can see you fit in that category 😀

  12. Amira says:

    I also want to heat the extended part of this story … what will happen after 30 years from now? Will they be bored or still romantic?

    Muslim women are being judged for their excess dress, because they are not producing productive children. Now 20% of world population are Muslims, but only 5% of these Muslims are contributing to science and technology. As a result of fact, Muslims are poor, they don’t have strong voice to protect themselves. Who are getting Allah’s blessing now – obviously not Muslims. It is proved that Allah likes intelligent brain, not a yesman, exactly the same way a mother secretly likes her the most talented kid, not the dependent one.

  13. Khan says:

    🙂 good

  14. This is an amazing and lovely story of Muslim couple.